Roughness Length of Water Vapor over Land Surfaces and Its Influence on Latent Heat Flux

  • Author(s): Sang-Jong Park, Soon-Ung Park, and Chang-Hoi Ho
  • DOI:


  • Keywords: Roughness length, Roughness Reynolds number, Surface layer scheme, Water vapor, FLOSS-II



Latent heat flux at the surface is largely dependent on the roughness length for water vapor (z0q). The determination of z0q is still uncertain because of its multifaceted characteristics of surface properties, atmospheric conditions and insufficient observations. In this study, observed values from the Fluxes Over Snow Surface II field experiment (FLOSS-II) from November 2002 to March 2003 were utilized to estimate z0q over various land surfaces: bare soil, snow, and senescent grass. The present results indicate that the estimated z0q over bare soil is much smaller than the roughness length of momentum (z0m); thus, the ratio z0m/z0q is larger than those of previous studies by a factor of 20 - 150 for the available flow regime of the roughness Reynolds number, Re* > 0.1. On the snow surface, the ratio is comparable to a previous estimation for the rough flow (Re* > 1), but smaller by a factor of 10 - 50 as the flow became smooth (Re* < 1). Using the estimated ratio, an optimal regression equation of z0m/z0q is determined as a function of Re* for each surface type. The present parameterization of the ratio is found to greatly reduce biases of latent heat flux estimation compared with that estimated by the conventional method, suggesting the usefulness of current parameterization for numerical modeling.

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